Mind you, you won’t hear the truth from much of the UK media either! Sadly, many journalists lazily recycle whatever the protesters tell them without once bothering to fact-check any of it – which is why this fairy story about a supposed connection between Dahl and Jones’ hill woods has managed to spread.
Who to trust? Was Jones’ Hill woods really the inspiration for Roald Dahl to write ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’?
Well, how about the Roald Dahl museum? If anyone should know about this they should, surely? This is what they say about the inspiration for Dahl’s story on their website.
“Roald Dahl lived with his family in Great Missenden, a village in Buckinghamshire, UK. Their house was surrounded by fields and woods. As a passionate lover of the countryside, there was one particular tree – known locally as “the witches tree” – that sat on the lane near the Dahl home and came to inspire one of Roald’s own favourite stories: Fantastic Mr Fox.
The “witches tree” was a large, 150-year-old beech. Sadly the tree is no longer standing but when his children were growing up Roald always used to tell them that it was where Mr Fox and his family lived, in a hole beneath the trunk, just as the Fox family do in the story.”
So, not only was it NOT Jones’ hill woods – it wasn’t even a woods but a single tree that no longer exists and hasn’t for donkey’s years (hardly surprising as Beech trees have a typical lifespan of 150–200 years). Yet again we find those opposed to HS2 just making stuff up for their own ends (just like the ‘children’s memorial’ and dozens of other ridiculous claims).
The story gets detailed even more in this report called “Finding Fantastic Mr Fox” by the BBC’s ‘Countryfile’ which claims that:
“Beloved children’s author Roald Dahl once lived and worked in rambling Gipsy House, on the edge of the sleepy Chilterns village of Great Missenden, and when stumped for inspiration he would walk in nearby Angling Spring and Hobshill woods. It was among these ancient beeches and carpets of bluebells that Dahl set some of his best-loved stories, including my favourite, the tale of Fantastic Mr Fox. Dahl had a favourite tree, an enormous gnarled specimen in the heart of the wood, which he called The Witches’ Tree“.
Note no mention of Jones’ Hill woods, even if this report slightly contradicts the Roald Dahl museum.
And there’s more! In 2016 the Independent newspaper carried a story called ‘on the trail of Roald Dahl in Great Missenden‘. In this piece it claims that;
“Angling Spring wood was the inspiration behind one of the writer’s most charismatic characters, Fantastic Mr Fox. The gnarled Witches Tree is said to be where the four-legged family lived.”
Yet again, no mention of Jones’ Hill woods. But there’s more..
The Bucks geology website has an illustrated guide to walks around Great Missenden published by the Chiltern’s Conservation Board (who also might be expected to know the truth) which contains this informative piece.
If I can fact-check this claim by spending just a few minutes on Google, why can’t the BBC or any other journo’s do the same? Because it’s just too easy to swallow whatever the protesters tell them as it makes a nice tear-jerking story and to hell with whatever the truth is! As the old adage goes, never let the facts get in the way of a good story…
Not letting the truth get in the way is exactly what HS2Rebellion and the protesters have done. Yesterday HS2rebellion reposted serially failed Green Party candidate Mark Keir claiming to be pointing out the actual ‘Mr Fox’ tree being felled in Jones’ Hill wood on their laughably entitled and thoroughly dishonest “Save Roald Dahl wood” Facebook page!
How you chop down a tree that fell down in a completely different wood in 2003 is a mystery known only the anti HS2 protesters.
I’ve a favour to ask…
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